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Full text of "To The Lighthouse"

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considering his age, turned sixty, and his clean-
liness and his impersonality, and the white scien-
tific coat which seemed to clothe him. For
him to gaze as Lily saw him gazing at Mrs.
Ramsay was a rapture, equivalent, Lily felt, to
the loves of dozens of young men (and perhaps
Mrs. Ramsay had never excited the loves of
dozens of young men). It was love, she thought,
pretending to move her canvas, distilled and
filtered; love that never attempted to clutch its
object; but, like the love which mathematicians
bear their symbols, or poets their phrases, was
meant to be spread over the world and become
part of the human gain. So it was indeed. The
world by all means should have shared it, could
Mr. Bankes have said why that woman pleased
him so; why the sight of her reading a fairy tale
to her boy had upon him precisely the same effect
as the solution of a scientific problem, so that he
rested in contemplation of it, and felt, as he felt
when he had proved something absolute about
the digestive system of plants, that barbarity was
tamed, the reign of chaos subdued.

Such a rapture—for by what other name could
one call it?—made Lily Briscoe forget entirely
what she had been about to say. It was nothing
of importance; something about Mrs. Ramsay.
It paled beside this " rapture ", this silent stare,